Report Outline• About the author.• Introducing: DEAD MEN’S PATH• Characters of the Story• Analysis• Why is the story titled THE DEAD MEN’S PATH?
Chinua Achebe• Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe.• One of Africa’s best known fiction writers.• 16 November 1930 (age 80)• Nigerian• Member of Ibo Tribe• AB English Literature• Known for “THINGS FALL APART”•
Chinua AchebeThe Dead Men’s Path
MI C H A E L O B I Y o u n g a n d e n e r g e t i c ma n . T h e n e w h e a d ma s t e r o f t h e s c h o o l . 26 y r s . o l d O u t s p o k e n i n h i s c o n d e mn a t i o n o f t h e n a r r o w v i e ws o f t h e o l d e r a n d
NANCY OBI• Mi c h a e l ’s w i f e .• Sh e wa s i n f e c t e d b y Mi c h a e l ’s a t t i t u d e .• Sh e t h o u g h t o f ma k i n g t h e u n p r o g r e s s i v e s c h o o l , a p l a c e o f b e a u t y (w i t h g a r d e n s , e t c .)
V I L L AGE P RI E S T• a n o l d ma n a n d w a l k e d wi t h a s l i g h t s t o o p• He c a r r i e d a s t o u t w a l k i n g -s t i c k w h i c h h e u s u a l l y t a p p e d o n t h e f l o o r , b y wa y o f e mp h a s i s , e a c h t i me h e ma d e a n e w p o i n t i n h i s a r g u me n t .
Se t t i ng• Ni g e r i a• Mo n t h o f J a n u a r y 1949• Nd u me Ce n t r a l Sc h o o l
Plot Summary• Ndume Central School had always been an unprogressive school, and a backward in every sense of the word.• The mission authorities decided to send a young and energetic man to run it.• Michael Obi was appointed the new headmaster of the school.
• Michael and his wife Nancy had many wonderful ideas for the school’s improvement and this was an opportunity to put them into practice.• Mr. Obi and his wife put their whole life into the work.• The have two aims. 1. High Standard of teaching was insisted upon. 2. The school compound was to be turned into a place of beauty.
• One evening, as Mr. Obi was admiring his work, he was scandalized to see an old woman from the village hobble right across the compound.• On going up there, Mr. Obi found out that faint signs of an almost disused path from the village across the school compound to the bush of the other side.
“It amazes me, that you people allowed the villagers to make use of this footpath. It is simply incredible.” said Mr. Obi (shooks his head) to one of his teachers that has been teaching in the school for 3 years.“The path appears to be very important to them. Although it is hardly used, it connects the village shrine with their place of burial.” said the teacher apologetically.
• Mr. Obi does not believe it and he was concerned on the school inspection by the Government Education Officer next week• Heavy sticks were planted closely across the path at the two places where it entered and left the school premises. These were further strengthened with barbed wire.
• Three days later, the village priest called on the headmaster.The Priest said:“this path was here before you were born and before your father was born. The whole life of this village depends on it. Our dead relatives depart by it and our ancestors visit us by it. But most important, it is the path of the children coming in to be born.
Mr. Obi replied:“The whole purpose of our school is to eradicate just such beliefs as that. Dead men do not require foot paths. The whole idea is just fantastic. Our duty is to teach your children laugh at such ideas.”The priest added:“What you say may be true, but we follow the practices of our fathers. If you reopen the path, we shall have nothing to argue about.
• Mr. Obi did ignored the proposal of the village priest to reopen the path. He suggested the priest to construct the path outside of the school premises.• The priest had nothing more to say, then he went home.
• Three days later, a young woman in the village died in childbed.• A diviner was immediately consulted and he prescribed heavy sacrifices to propitiate ancestors insulted by the fence.
• Obi woke up next morning upon the ruins of his work. The beautiful hedges were torn up, the flowers trampled to death and one of the school buildings pulled down.
• That day, the white supervisor came to inspect the school.• He wrote a nasty report on the state of the school, but more seriously about the “tribal war situation between the village and the school, arising in part from the misguided zeal of the new headmaster.”
ANALYSIS OF THE STORY
Setting• The story takes place on an Ibo village in Nigeria, where ancient tribal belief still exist.• Many Ibo villagers still showed respect for their local diety.• The old ways came into conflict with new western ideas.
Plot• The plot is all about social realism.• There’s a new headmaster of the school and he made changes to the school, blocking the “dead men’s path” which is considered sacred by the villagers.
• The new headmaster seems indifferent with the customs of the villagers, so he ignored the request of the priest to reopen the path.
• Dead Mans Path• DEAD MANS PATH by CHINUA ACHEBE The title of this story "Dead Mans Path" foreshadows the series of events about to take place in the story. "Dead Mans Path" does not only refer to the ancestral pathway but also refers to Obis choice of action. His "path" by not compromising has made him a "Dead Man". Dead in this context is not death, but is referring to his failure. His dream died. The title also foreshadows dark events that would occur in the story. Meaning this story has quite a sad ending to it, not at all a happy story. .
• In this story "Dead Mans Path", Chinua Achebe gives the protagonist Michael Obi, a 26 years old secondary school teacher, a great chance of fulfilling his dream. He was appointed by the Mission Authorities to be the headmaster of Ndume Central School in Nigeria. "Mission Authorities" (page 618) are Christian Missionaries who were also the authorities in Africa. They are foreigners who have been sent everywhere around the world to teach Christianity
Theme• tribal culture meets modern ideologies• ignorance of other peoples customs